New Jersey

Mugger Fleeing Cops Jumps Into Hudson River, Only to Be Rescued by Cops

Call it a tale of the one that did not get away -- and for the NYPD Harbor Unit, it was quite a catch.

The unit was patrolling the Hudson River when it got a call to support NYPD officers on land: an alleged mugger threatened his victim with a utility knife and punched him in the head, grabbed his cellphone at Riverbank State Park -- then tried to get away from cops by leaping into the river. 

The NYPD Harbor Unit raced from the Brooklyn Bridge to 145th West in its RBM Jet Boat. That's where they found the suspect, Rafael Guzman, struggling to stay afloat. 

"When we got there, we saw him floating approximately 600 yards offshore," said NYPD officer Mark Landi.

It was clear he wasn't going to make it to New Jersey. 

"I think he might have tried to, but no, once you're in the water, in the Hudson River, especially, without a flotation device, your chances are pretty small," said Landi. 

The FDNY and the NYPD harbor units moved in to rescue Guzman from the water, even as he continued to try to swim away. 

"We toss him a life ring, he gets hold of the life ring. As we try to pull to the boat, he's starting to go under the boat, not really wanting to come on board," said NYPD officer Richard Kaercher. "But eventually, we got him on board."

"He was trying to escape," said Kaercher, adding wryly, "You're not gonna get real far." 

Once the NYPD pulled the alleged mugger from the Hudson River and into the boat, the man bit an officer. 

Guzman, who's said to be homeless, was taken into custody. 

Landi and Kaercher say they're fortunate to be working in a big harbor unit that's able to support its colleagues on land. 

"New York City is -- four of the five boroughs are islands, and we have a lot of shoreline, a lot of waterways," said Landi.

The officer who was bit is in the hospital and expected to be OK. Guzman is facing several charges. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney. 

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